Leeds Carnival 2007
Yes, I just came back from our own Carnival here in Leeds, tired and smiling… As a friend says, it’s like Notting Hill just better!.. And of course I came back with few photographs to show you as well (please ask written permission for any use)
The history of Leeds West Indian Carnival goes quite back, first initiated in 1967 by a Leeds University student from St Kitts. It was the first Carnival of its kind in Britain.
The Carnival takes places in Chapeltown, a Leeds suburb and centre of the British Afro-Caribbean community, which during the years has experienced a range of social problems and stigma.
It’s probably worth noting here, that until the end of the 60’s racial discrimination in England was institutional and non-white immigrant populations were not allowed to freely participate in the house market.
This was the second time that I visited the Carnival. My pictures and comments from the first time, back in 2001, can be found here in this photo-essay. Back then, I had found it the Carnival of no fun, of hardly anyone smiling… such an ironic contradiction. I was really sceptical, after all, if all this was anything more than a consumerist one-day firework without any real effect in understanding difference and emphasise commonality. I’m not sure how much things have changed. I did feel though that things were more relaxed this time, but maybe for real change we need more time and more work from all of us.
But there was one more reason for my good mood. I found out that ‘Honeydrum’ the music band of some old friends were playing their samba there. Well.. I honestly think that it was one of their best performances including some great dance improvisations!… I do recommend to catch up with them in another festival, you can find more details in their website here.
All images by Christos Stavrou © 2007 All rights reserved (written permission is required before any use)